More that 2.5 million Americans served in Vietnam, the vast majority in supporting roles. Yet just because they were behind the lines didn’t mean they were shielded from the chaos and the craziness, from the pain and the suffering. In fact, there were no front lines in Vietnam. The war was here, there and everywhere. And that’s just fine with Specialist Alan Lacey, the narrative voice of the novel. A 22-year-old Army draftee from Michigan, he’s smart, cocky, funny, arrogant. Which to the lifers—the career soldiers—means he’s a threat, maybe even a traitor.
He’s a threat because he’s powerful. He’s chief clerk of a Saigon headquarters company. He knows how to get things done; he knows how to keep things from getting done. He wheels and deals; he plays and parties. He doesn’t like Saigon and he’s disgusted with the war effort, yet he gladly takes advantage of the whole situation as he counts off his 365 days.
But Vietnam and the war that has engulfed it have taken the measure of many a powerful clerk over the years. Lacey will be no exception. He finds himself forced to take a stand, to seek revenge, to confront the enemy—even when that enemy’s uniform is the same as his.
In the years immediately after the Vietnam War, a few books and movies explored the conflict and the era, some of them becoming cultural icons. But then gradually the country began to focus on its Greatest Generation and the Good War. Movies, books and TV series have relived the heroism and horrors of World War II, even as those veterans have slowly disappeared into the mists of time. Those men and women deserve every bit of belated honor they have received.
Now it’s the Vietnam generation’s time to shine. The Vietnam War is about to experience its own resurgence of interest. Most Vietnam veterans are in their 60s. They and their families and contemporaries are ready to relive that intense time; they are ready to cry and laugh, revisit and rediscover. “Support Troops” will catch this coming Vietnam wave beautifully.
The e-book is now available from Smashwords.com (http://www.smashwords.com/
And for you Vietnam vets out there, that’s $2.99 green, not MPC.
Author Brian Nicol’s writing, editing and publishing career spans more than 35 years, most of them in Hawaii, Oregon and Nebraska. He was drafted in June 1969 and spent nearly all of 1970 as chief clerk in an Army headquarters company in Saigon. Any similarity between his experiences and those of narrator Alan Lacey is coincidental, more or less.